For alumnus Mario Calixte, there is no denying the staying power of the Hokie Spirit. 

“Virginia Tech makes me a better, a stronger and a more mature person. There is no person I’d rather be than the person I am now,” said Calixte. 

As a dual graduate  (computer science ’10, master’s instructional design and technology ’12), he feels these sentiments very strongly while working in his home country of Haiti. 

Calixte was scheduled to be on campus  to accept the inaugural Department of Computer Science Distinguished Early Career Alumni Award conferred at the annual awards banquet. This distinction is conferred to an alumni whose degree was awarded within the past 15 years and who has demonstrated extraordinary leadership in the computing field in his career whether industry, government, or academia.

While he could no travel from Haiti and accept the award in person, he offered this advice to current computer science students at Virginia Tech during the virtual awards banquet. “As a future computer scientist, you can start to count your blessings. You are among a very fortunate minority of professionals who can make a great living doing things you enjoy.” 

He further adds, “But remember, life is not only about getting a high-paying job. You have to get out of your comfort zone. I encourage you to go out and volunteer your time and skills. It’s fun and great for personal development. And it’s so gratifying to give back to your community.”

Read more about this inspiring Hokie.